A lot of people here have found the "emerging" communities of North/South Park, Hillcrest, etc to have a good sense of community. Again, I personally prefer the coastal communities of Ocean Beach at the south end and Cardiff on the north end (and everything in between that 30 mi radius).
In terms of best value to the city, I *personally* believe (see my other frustrated posts to self-promoting bullish real estate agents) nothing is a good value at this time. I believe the market will continue to fall until we purge all of the negative mortgages/foreclosures and unsold developments throughout the city. The surplus of housing continues to be a pervasive problem, coupled w/ rising unemployment and a deteriorating economy.
With that, if you disagree w/ such a sentiment and are looking for a relative good value now, then I would push you to look downtown, or eastern san diego (which has seen unbelievable drops in price that are now in line w/ your price point). They aren't the most desirable places to live, but have certainly come down in price.
Just my 2 cents---I'm sure you'll get some better specific responses from the well-versed agents (there are some here) that answer posts on Trulia.
Realtors are supposed to be "color-blind" meaning with that question, we actually should answer tactfully by providing resources and help you decide. I would start probably with the police department for crime rates and similar statistics, then check schools, talk to potential neighbors when you make it out here, and drive areas at NIGHT. These simple things will give you great insight.
I sure would love to be more of service. Tons of opportunities in San Diego! I have sold all over San Diego and have been a long time resident for over 25 years. I am sure I can share some valuable info. A brief conversation over the phone will help you tremendously.
Joe Mendoza, Broker
Top 1% Nationwide
"Who's Who In Real Estate"
(619) 567-3471 Direct
(619) 246-HOME (4663) Cell
Your questions are very subjective. For safest check out this site form the San Diego Police Department http://www.sandiego.gov/police/stats/ . For the best sense of community would be hard .. you would be the only one who could measure that to your tastes of what "Sense of Community" means to you. Best value close to the city..... most areas of San Diego have great value. The city itself 92101 has great value. You said this is a vacation home. Make a list of everything that is important to you in a vacation home in San Diego and then find out how much you are willing and able to spend from a lender and email it to me. We'll get started right away.
1.) What distance do you define as "close" to the city?
2.) Are you over 55? (You may want to consider 55+ neighborhoods)
3.) As a vacation home will you be spending time mostly in the city? beach? etc.. (what would be your primary activities?)
4.) Kids or no kids?
If you can define that it may be easier to make suggestions of particular communities for you to check out.
All the Best,
Marcie Sands REALTOR
Simply The Best Real Estate Company, Inc.
In reading Pete's reply, there is much he says that is accurate. Here is what you can expect:
1. You will get pitched by many "positive" agents who are avoiding the market place
2. It is important to be positive as an agent, however, if you ignore market conditions, you sound hallucinogenic.
3. San Diego is a diverse market and not all areas are plagued by short sales and foreclosures
4. There are many, many safe neighborhoods within a good commute from downtown.
5. If you are going to buy, know that most people commute downtown from the suburbs. Find a commute you can handle, you can find a 30 minute commute from many suburban areas.
6. There are people buying today. Fact, not fiction.
7. There are people in a wait and see mode as well.
8. Make sure people/agents are giving you information, not opinion.
9. If you plan to buy, know your plan. Most people buying today plan on staying in their property 6 to 10 years.
Below is the link for the latest released sales in San Diego. Here is what is important about this chart:
1. It shows median price which will help you determine area. Expect a 20% low end and top end differential from the median.
2. The % decline is from January 2008 to January 2009. You will see the stable areas in these figures.
3. If you are looking for a single family residence, just read that column, same for a townhouse, etc.
You can read our blog on this site by clicking on our profile. You will find many facts about the real estate market in SD.
Lastly, many people who move here from out of twon rent first and then buy, to get settled and learn the city. It really depends on your motivation and your own priorities. Make a plan that works for you.
Best of luck to you,
Mark and Kari Shea
San Diego Real Estate Experts
Foreclosure, Short Sale & Investment Specialists,
Development Opportunities & Traditional Real Estate
You are getting sound advice so far and here is some more. You might also check out Imperial Beach, just south of Coronado. It has been undergoing a transformation of sorts with a sheriffs substation at the beach, new shops, street improvements etc. See this link for more on the IB community (you can select other areas to see the statistics-including crime by going to the change location tab on the horizontal tool bar).
Hope that helps and let me know if you need more information.
Here is a link to the crime stats you can see them by neighborhood... http://www.sandiego.gov/police/stats/
There are over 80 properties in the downtown area in your price range. If you would like to contact me to narrow down your search and give me more particulars as to what specifically you are looking for, I could be more helpful. Our downtown area is a great place for a second home; it is close to lots of fun things, restaurants, theaters, the bay and more!
Warmly, Denise Gleavey
Helping buyers and sellers since 1988
Visit my website for current listings: http://www.IHandleRE4U.com